The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team ran into a high-level MAC foe on Saturday afternoon as Miami (Ohio) enjoyed a 68-47 victory at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The visiting RedHawks, a team that reached the WNIT a year ago, leaned on a quality third quarter to pull away from the hosts in the last game before finals week for both teams.
The atmosphere was a festive one as a quality crowd was on hand with numerous students and fans sporting ugly sweaters, which were also donned by both coaching staffs and members of press row.
How It Happened
- Valpo jumped out to an early 12-10 lead behind hot shooting from beyond the arc in the first five minutes. Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Michigan / McBain) accounted for two of the team’s four made 3s before the first media timeout to help the hosts to the early edge.
- Miami (7-1) continued to shoot it well for the remainder of the quarter, finishing the first 10 minutes with a 22-18 lead thanks to a 61.5 shooting percentage. Ella Ellenson (Rice Lake, Wis. / Rice Lake) had seven points in the first period to lead all scorers.
- A 7-0 run for the RedHawks pushed the lead to 29-20 with 7:28 left in the second quarter. That edge fluctuated between five and nine for the remainder of the period, but eventually stood at 11 after a Lauren Dickerson 3-pointer for the final points of the half.
- Valpo continued to shoot it well in the second quarter by going 5-of-10, but the Brown & Gold got off just one 3-point attempt. Miami knocked down a trio of triples en route to winning the quarter 18-11.
- The third quarter saw Miami pull away, as the guests scored seven points in the first two minutes to up the lead to 18. That extended the run to 12-0 after the RedHawks scored the final five points of the first half.
- A Bryce Blood (Toledo, Ohio / Whitmer) basket briefly stemmed the tide with 7:26 left in the third, but Valpo didn’t score again until a free throw by Blood at the 1:21 mark. Those were Valpo’s only three points in a third quarter that favored Miami 15-3.
- After holding Valpo to 1-of-12 shooting and 0-of-5 from beyond the arc in the third, Miami took a 55-32 lead to the fourth. Valpo won the final period 15-13 to make the final score 68-47.
Inside the Game
- Hamlet played in her 100th career game and made her 98th career start.
- Redshirt sophomore Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill. / Cissna Park) led all scorers with 15 points and tied with Miami’s Savannah Kluesner as the game’s top rebounder with seven. Hamlet was second on the team in scoring with 13, while the RedHawks had four players reach double figures.
- Stoller knocked down three triples, setting a career high in that area.
- Miami’s only loss this season is to Louisville, a team ranked fifth nationally. The RedHawks are in their second season under the direction of former Notre Dame star player Megan Duffy.
- Hamlet’s 13 points allowed her to move into a tie for 11th in program history in career scoring at 1,096. She drew even with Tamra Braun (2003-2007) on Saturday.
- Valpo had 10 steals, hitting double figures in that area for the fifth time already this season.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mary Evans
“I think we did a nice job early setting screens, reading the defense and hitting people. They made some changes defensively, and that’s what stagnated our offense. They started switching some things, and we were never able to recover from that.”
“Miami is an extremely physical team. They have athletics guards and quality bigs inside. They’re a good team that played in the postseason last year and have a year under Megan’s system. They do a great job. Their defensive numbers are staggering this year. I thought we actually shot it really well considering what other teams have done against them. We have to continue to focus on doing things the Valpo way.”
“On defense, I thought we did a nice job guarding their initial actions. When they got out of their initial sets and just started playing basketball, our inability to communicate really hurt us. We had some times where we lost people and we closed out short on some players who can really shoot the basketball. We’ve got to grow and learn from this loss so we can get better.”
“We have to get better in practice this week. Offensively we have to work through some things, and we have to continue to put our players in situations where they have to communicate with each other defensively. We’re trying to move past being an average defensive team that can only guard what we know and start guarding everything.”
After a week off for finals, Valpo will be back in action on Sunday, Dec. 16 against North Dakota State to round out a stretch of three straight home games. The game will tip off at 1 p.m. at the Athletics-Recreation Center and will be broadcast on ESPN+ and 95.1 FM Valparaiso.